Over the weekend, tragedy struck a Henderson, NV family.
On their child's 1st Birthday, the family gathered together and opened presents while the family dog was around.
However, later in the evening, as the child's grandother got ready to put young Jeremiah Shanahan to bed, but as she went for the child, the child grabbed the dog on the sides to pull himself up (he is just learning to walk). When the child grabbed the dog, the dog spun around and attacked the child.h
By the time the boy's father broke up the rukus, the boy's injuries were severe and the boy later died at the hospital.
The family says the dog, described as a "Mastiff-Rhodesian Ridgeback mix" as always friendly, well socialized with the child, and even upon leaving he home, seemed oblivous to the damage he had done.
This is a horrible tragedy for the family. It continues to reinforce that children and dogs need to be supervised together at all times, being cautious of things a child might do to injure a dog. It is also important to have a strong knowledge of dog behavior that allows you to recognize warning signs when the dog is with the child. This is why I have for years pushed for organizations like Family Paws that focus on dog owner education to help people understand how to keep children and dogs safe together. It's not that hard -- with a bit of education and a lot of diligence. They even have a toll-free hotline for people to call for help and advice.
I also think it further highlights why the clowns out there who insist that dog bites are a breed-specific issue are further causing more ignorance and getting us further from the eduation we need to prevent tragedies like this and are causing a lot of harm vs actually helping solve the problem.
My heart goes out to the family in this case.
The story has been picked up by 3 different news outlets.